I wrote "Dead Jed: Adventures of a Middle School Zombie," to be pubished in December 2013 from Month9Books. Actually, that is not quite accurate. I wrote "Dead Jed 1.0," which was quite a bit different from the finished, and much improved, version. I have Courtney to thank for that. She had a keen eye for structure and organization. She caught misspellings and noted mistakes in grammar. She was on top of swithes in tense as well as verb-subject agreement. Her mechanics were flawlwess, an attribute every editor should have. But Courtney's talents extend far above that.
She expertly noted where the story began to drag, offering suggestions. She knew the book's market so well, she advised showcasing a character a bit more to appeal to the audience (I took that recommendation and "Dead Jed" is much better for it). At times she poked and tweaked. At others, she prodded for rewrites. I did not take an official tally, but I am sure I followed roughly 98 percent of Courtney's suggestions.
What I appreciated most in the process was that while Courtney put a lot of effort into the manuscript, she never attempted to rewrite passages she knew could be stronger. She did not want to alter or overpower my voice. Nearly every word in "Dead Jed" is mine--changed, reordered, or added in following Courtney's edits--and my voice remains throughout.
In fact, it reads as if it were not edited at all, the hightest praise I can offer any editor. Should you wonder about my writing experience and just how I would know one editor for another, well, I've been a print journalist for more than 30 years, working with dozens of editors over that time. Courtney is amont the best I've worked with.
Scott Craven, DEAD JED: ADVENTURES OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL ZOMBIE (Month9Books 2013) and DAWN OF THE JED (Month9Books 2014)
Courtney Koschel resurrected me. Seriously? Yeah, seriously!
My previous editor basically tore me down in the most unprofessional way possible. After that, I was completely lost. I couldn’t look at my novel without feeling close to tears. Beyond feeling defeated, I didn’t trust myself to write well anymore. I went to Twitter in desperation, begging for new editor recommendations.
Ta-da! Courtney Koschel’s name was dropped.
After talking with Courtney a bit on the phone and through email, I knew she would do an amazing job with my novel, because she was so knowledgeable and positive. But more importantly than that, I knew she was a good person. I knew she was a friend. And I knew she would help me—help me with my fears, my insecurities, and on top of all that, my writing.
And she did.
She took my writing and showed me the strengths, making certain to point them out because she knew I needed to hear them. But she didn’t take it easy on me. She pushed my writing, and pointed out the weak spots, giving reasons and explanations that left me confident in my revisions. It wasn’t a shot in the dark when I read her edits and began to tackle them. And isn’t that the most important thing? I could fix the weak spots in my novel with an understanding I previously lacked.
For the first time in a while, I felt capable of doing what I love.
Courtney teaches and mentors in a manner that guides a writer instead of strong-arming them. I truly believe that she gives writers the ability to flourish within their own writing style. Every step of the way, she gave me updates and ensured I understood the process of seeing my novel through to its finished product. I could gush for hours, but at the end of the day, Courtney has rebuilt my faith in myself, and I won’t even try to put my admiration for her in words.
Meg Collett, THE HAUNTED ONE (2014)
Courtney is the ultimate professional. Her insightful, honest, and encouraging feedback during developmental edits challenged me to step up my game and pushed me to become not only a better writer but also taught me a lot about editing my own work. Throughout the process, she helped me think about my characters and plot in new ways, pointed out places I could raise the tension, advised me to smooth out transitions, and called me out on confusing and contrived motivations.
Working with Courtney led me to hone my craft while maintaining my original voice and vision. It takes a truly skilled editor to do all of that without inserting his/her owsn voice. Not only is she a fantastic developmental editor, but she also picked up on spelling and grammar mistakes I had missed. She has a keen eye for detail and copyediting as well as vast knowledge of structure, plot, and characterization.
I was impressed with how much stronger my book became with her help. Having worked with other freelance editors besides Courtney, they don’t compare. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trust my books to anyone else.
Heather Reid, PRETTY DARK NOTHING (Month9Books 2013) **Additional references available upon request
Courtney has edited several of my writing projects. I'm always impressed with what she picks up on, and I have no doubt, I'm a better writer because of her. She's also come up with ideas to help take my stories to the next level.
The SHADOW PRINCE won the 2014 Readers' Favorite Book Award in the Short Story category.
Stacey O'Neale, THE SHADOW PRINCE won the 2014 Readers' Favorite Book Award. Stacey is also a PR Specialist and owner of the Fantasy Book Addict website.